A House Democrat who opposes impeachment is expected to switch political parties 

Rep. Jeff Van Drew, a moderate Democrat who’s vocally opposed the impeachment of President Donald Trump, intends to switch parties next week, The New York Times reports.

Van Drew’s announcement is poised to take place as the House votes on whether to impeach the president. It’s a development that’s seen as providing an opportune distraction for Trump, which Republicans also view as underscoring the partisan nature of impeachment. Van Drew’s decision comes as he stares down a potentially competitive Democratic primary in 2020 — and a similarly tight general election in a district that Trump won in 2016. …

Former Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin’s 428 pardons are upsetting both Democrats and Republicans

Before handing over power to Gov. Andy Beshear (D) last week, former Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin (R) used his final days in office to issue hundreds of pardons, including people convicted of sexual assault and murder.

The decision has drawn criticism from both the left and the right, with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell calling the pardons “completely inappropriate” and Beshear calling the pardon of Dayton Jones, who was convicted of raping a child, “wrong.”

Overall, the former governor issued 428 pardons, including Jones; a man who was convicted of killing his parents at age 16; and Patrick Brian Baker, …

Omar al-Bashir, deposed president of Sudan, has been sentenced to 2 years in a reform facility 

Omar al-Bashir, the deposed former president of Sudan, was sentenced to two years of incarceration at a state run reform center by a Sudanese court Saturday.

The verdict marked the end of the first major test of the independence of the nation’s judiciary under its new government, and saw a key demand of protesters who helped bring al-Bashir down being met.

Al-Bashir ruled Sudan for 30 years before being removed in April by mass protests triggered by austerity measures. Those protests quickly broadened into a pro-democracy movement that demanded the former president face the courts over allegations of genocide and …

Mississippi’s ban on abortions at 15 weeks gets shut down second time

A federal appeals court blocked Mississippi’s 15 week abortion ban on Friday, simultaneously ensuring abortion access in the state after the 15th week of pregnancy, and paving the way for further legal challenges to current federal abortion regulations.

Jackson Women’s Health Organization — the only abortion clinic left in Mississippi — sued the state in 2018 to block the law banning the procedure; a judge ruled in the clinic’s favor that year.

Friday, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals supported that ruling after the clinic argued that no medical evidence shows a fetus would be viable 15 weeks into a …

How meritocracy harms everyone — even the winners

The belief that we live in a meritocracy is one of our oldest and most persistent illusions.

It justifies the gaping inequalities in our society by attributing them to the skill and hard work of successful people and the incompetence and shortcomings of unsuccessful people. But this has always been a fantasy, a way of glossing over how the world actually works.

A new book by Yale Law professor Daniel Markovits, The Meritocracy Trap, is a fascinating attempt to poke holes in our conventional understanding of meritocracy and, in the process, make the case for something better.

We typically …

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The committee has spoken

Tories hold on to power in Thursday’s UK election

Pete Buttigieg is raising money from Silicon Valley’s billionaires — even as Elizabeth Warren attacks him for it

Representatives from Silicon Valley’s wealthiest families are raising money for Pete Buttigieg’s presidential campaign in a show of Silicon Valley force not yet seen in the primary campaign so far, Recode has learned.

A host list circulated to prospective donors for an event on Monday morning in Palo Alto, California, features individuals with family ties to some of the most prominent people in Big Tech. Netflix CEO and co-founder Reed Hastings is listed as a co-host of the event, as is Nicole Shanahan, the wife of Google co-founder Sergey Brin; Wendy Schmidt, the wife of former Google CEO Eric Schmidt; …